Continental Drifters – Gulf Coast/Brother Jimmy’s (Chicago, IL)
The six musicians in the Continental Drifters all have impressive credentials, yet it is former dBs member Peter Holsapple who really shines, as he drives the band through a combination of solid originals such as “Darling” and well chosen covers including Gram Parsons’ “A Song For You”.
Susan Cowsill, Holsapple’s wife and a former member of ’60s sibling band the Cowsills, stands front-and-center singing lead on several songs and occasionally playing acoustic guitar. Also on acoustic guitar is former Bangle Vicki Peterson, whose sweet voice adds dimension on leads as well as harmonies.
The rhythms of drummer Carlo Nuccio (ex-Subdudes) and bassist Mark Walton (ex-Dream Syndicate) that lead the way for the richly melodic playing of Holsapple and guitarist Robert Mache. Here is where the Continental Drifters show that they are a powerful musical force: Mache works magic with his guitar, and Holsapple is free to create a variety of moods on both keyboards and guitar.
The various influences influences at work here allow the band to cover a lot of ground, but they also hold the Drifters back at times. Often, when they seemingly found a hook with which to draw in the crowd, they lost them with a quick change in mood and direction. This is a band laden with talent both musically and lyrically, but they’re also still searching to find themselves amidst the lush history of its members.
Among the other fine choices of covers were the Boxtops’ “Soul Deep” and the Goffin/King classic “I Can’t Make it Alone”. They finished the Chicago stand with an unfortunately apropos dedication of the classic “Dedicated” to the late Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, who had died on stage earlier in the week in Whistler, B.C. The death of their respected peer added a great deal of power to the sweet harmonies on the chorus: “This is dedicated to the one I love.”